Ammonium Perchlorate – an Inorganic Compound

Ammonium Perchlorate – an Inorganic Compound

Ammonium perchlorate has the formula NH4ClO4 and is an inorganic chemical. It is a colorless or white substance that is water soluble. It is a perchloric acid and ammonia salt. It is a strong oxidant. It can be used as a rocket propellant when combined with a fuel. It is mostly utilized as an oxidizer in the production of solid fuel rocket propellants.

The potent oxidizer is used to make rocket propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics, etching and engraving agents, and analytical chemistry. Because of its fragility, it has been involved in a number of incidents, including the PEPCON tragedy.


Ammonium perchlorate is a crystalline white solid or powder. It is a perchloric acid and ammonium hydroxide salt. All perchlorates have the potential to be strong oxidizers, but ammonium perchlorate is particularly labile. When ammonium perchlorate is combined with a fuel, it can produce self-sustaining combustion even at low atmospheric pressure.

  • Molar mass: 117.49 g/mol
  • Appearance: White Crystalline
  • Density: 1.95 g/cm3
  • Melting point: Exothermic decomposition before melting at >200 °C
  • Solubility: Soluble in Methanol; partially soluble in Acetone, Ethanol and insoluble in Ether


Ammonium perchlorate (AP) is formed by the interaction of ammonia with perchloric acid. This is the primary procedure for the industrial manufacturing of perchloric acid. The salt can also be generated through the salt metathesis reaction of ammonium salts with sodium perchlorate. This method takes use of the relatively low solubility of NH4ClO4, which is around 10% that of sodium perchlorate. AP crystallizes as colorless rhombohedra.


Like most ammonium salts, ammonium perchlorate decomposes before melting. Mild heating results in production of hydrogen chloride, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.

4 NH4ClO4 → 4 HCl + 2 N2 + 5 O2 + 6 H2O

The combustion of AP is highly intricate and has received a lot of attention. AP crystals degrade before melting, despite the presence of a thin liquid layer on crystal surfaces during high-pressure combustion processes. Strong heating might cause explosions. Complete reactions leave no trace of their existence. Pure crystals cannot sustain a flame at pressures lower than 2 MPa.

For particle sizes greater than 15 micrometres, AP is classified as a Class 4 oxidizer (may undergo an explosive reaction) and as an explosive for particle sizes fewer than 15 micrometres.


Ammonium perchlorate is primarily used in the production of solid fuel propellants. When AP is combined with a fuel (such as powdered aluminum and/or an elastomeric binder), it can produce self-sustaining combustion at pressures well below atmospheric pressure. It is a significant oxidizer with a long history of use in solid rocket propellants, including space launch (including the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster), military, amateur, and hobby high-power rockets, and various fireworks.

Some “breakable” epoxy adhesives include AP suspensions. When heated to 300 °C, the AP destroys the organic adhesive, causing the cemented joint to break.


Perchlorate alone has low acute toxicity. Sodium perchlorate, for example, has an LD50 of 2-4 g/kg and is rapidly removed after intake. Chronic exposure to perchlorates, even at low concentrations, has been found to induce a variety of thyroid issues because it is absorbed in place of iodine.